SALT LAKE CITY, Utah, May 20, 2019 (Gephardt Daily) — Thirteen suspects from Utah County have been arrested following a recent operation targeting child sexual predators, officials announced Monday.
Utah Attorney General Sean D. Reyes held a press conference Monday afternoon to announce the arrests.
A followup news release from the Utah Attorney General’s Office said charges include enticing a minor, attempted rape of a child, attempted sodomy on a child, attempted aggravated sexual abuse of a child, attempted forcible sexual abuse, criminal solicitation, and more. The 13 suspects are facing a total of 48 charges.
The investigation, led by the Internet Crimes Against Children (ICAC) Task Force, revealed the suspects primarily targeted boys and girls between the ages of 11 and 13 years old.
“These offenders are considered among the most dangerous and aggressive child predators, because their activity indicates a plan to engage in sexual contact with a minor,” the news release said.
“Based on the number of cases law enforcement agencies have handled across the state, evidence shows that this problem has become more pervasive in the last year.”
Reyes was joined at the press conference by ICAC officers from the Provo Police Department, Orem Police Department, Utah County Sheriff’s Office, Uintah County Sheriff’s Office, Dixie State University Police, Davis County Attorney’s Office and Adult Probation and Parole, who all participated in the operation.
Reyes said by way of the news release: “The bad news is the information we are sharing today is grim in nature and shows that there are adults in our communities who appear to be actively and aggressively trying to have sexual contact with Utah children. My office works with children who are actual victims of sexual abuse and rape, we see these children and the trauma they suffer. That’s why we perform these operations, and why we’re so committed to preventing harm where we can and prosecuting every possible crime against children that we can. Our goal is to prevent this kind of trauma from happening to even one more child.”
Keeping Children Safe
The Utah Attorney General’s ICAC Education Specialist has the following tips:
- As schools let out and summer starts, this is a good time to remind children that they should never meet anyone they met online.
- Be aware of the websites and apps your children are using. A current list of popular apps and websites can be found here.
- If you know of anyone who is contacting children, please call your local law enforcement or the ICAC Tip Line at 801-281-1211.